Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Canning

The thought of canning foods has always been rather intimidating to me, yet, it is something I have always wanted to try my hand at. After watching a friend of mine in college transform a large bag of apples into apple butter and can them in cute Mason jars a few years ago, the idea of attempting it myself became less scary.

The thought of the delicious, warm spices permeating the house with their wonderful smells while cooking enticed me; the idea of the adorable, little jars adorned with festive ribbons; the desire to offer gifts made by my own hands this Christmas finally made it a reality.

While up at Apple Hill one weekend, I purchased myself a box of 20 lbs of apples. I peeled and cut my way through most of them and placed them in a large pot with some water on the stove to soften. After about a half hour, I added an ample amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, and let it simmer away for about 3 hours. The aroma produced was so intoxicating. I wish I could just have apple butter simmering away on the stove all autumn/winter long. It is the perfect scent to make your home feel all warm and cozy. ;-) It is the perfect addition to oatmeal on a chilly, wintery morning. I also like to add it to my yogurt with a bit of granola on top. It wonderfully complements a batch of sweet potato pancakes or pumpkin scones or smear it on a slice of warm toast....

Although the thought crossed my mind of keeping it all for myself ( good!!), I dove in and started the process of canning. I hand-washed all my pint-size Mason jars, lids and seals in hot water and then left them to soak in the very hot water. (They must be quite hot when the hot liquid is added to them so that they do not crack and break! My brother can tell you all about that due to a science project gone awry...)
Filling them was a bit of challenge...I do believe my fingertips were rather toasted by the end of the process. Filled with just the tiniest bit of room at the top, I placed the seal squarely on top and screwed on the lid. After filling about 6, I placed them in a pot of boiling water and let them sit inside for about 10 minutes. This seals the lids and kills all the germs that might be lurking. They were then carefully removed from the water and set on a towel overnight to settle.
Checking them in the morning, only one lid unsuccessfully sealed. Not bad for a first try! :-)

My homemade treats will be making their way to the Christmas baskets of my family and friends this afternoon. Merry Christmas!!

1 comment:

Christina said...

A lot of work, and I'm sure it was greatly appreciated! I also bake/cook with my iPod often, too, lol.

As for winter running, I'd say you currently have it made. =P It's always great to hear different opinions when it comes to aspects of running because much of what I've learned has been picked up from other runners as well as what I've read in books and such.

Hope you had a great Christmas!